Western Montana breweries have been busy lately creating a variety of new beers for the fall and winter season. From big IPAs and porters to pumpkin ales and even a wintermarzen, there’s a lot to try and something for everyone. With Thanksgiving week upon us, now is a great time to take a break, head over to your local brewery and check out some of these new offerings.
Bayern Brewing Co., Missoula
- Montana Club Organic Amber: an unfiltered, organic amber similar in character to the amber they’ve been brewing for 25 years.
- Groomer Organic Dark Wintermarzen: Brewed to celebrate Snowbowl Ski Area’s 50th anniversary, we stopped in a tried this one last Sunday. It’s very dark brown with a reddish tint and an almost creamy, lightly tanned head. Fans familiar with Bayern’s oktoberfest and dopplebock will notice a similar base profile, but with less sweetness and a bit of a spicy undertone. At 5.3% and 25 ibus, it makes for a smooth, lighter bodied beer that nevertheless has plenty of flavor.
Big Sky Brewing Co., Missoula
- Supergoat. This is the latest in the 406 series of limited releases. It is an unfiltered, dry-hopped version of Big Sky’s Scape Goat Pale Ale and is made with hops grown in the nearby Nine Mile area.
Blacksmith Brewing Co., Stevensville
- Pumpkin Ale. Brewed with plenty of actual pumpkin along with traditional pumpkin pie spices, this is a very smooth brew with perhaps some of the best balance of pumpkin spices you’ll find in any of these brews.
- Galaxy Hop Ale. Blacksmith brewed this single hop ale with Galaxy hops, an Australian hop variety said to provide pronounced aromas and flavors of citrus and passionfruit. However, after enjoying a pint of this brew, we commented how refreshing it was to enjoy hops without all the citrus/grapefruit notes that are common now. We got more floral/herbal and pine resin flavors. Maybe we’re weird that way.
- Russian Imperial Stout. As of last Saturday, this one wasn’t out yet.
Tamarack Brewing Co., Lakeside/Missoula
- Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. Wonderfully easy drinking brown ale with fairly pronounced caramel and biscuit malt flavors with a good dose of nutmeg and other spices.
- Headwall Double IPA. Very possibly one of the best double IPAs we’ve had (8.2% and 99 ibus).
- Mo’vember Porter. Tamarack’s description: A big winter porter weighing in at around 8 %.
Flathead Brewing Co., Woods Bay/Missoula
- Holiday Ale. This dark brown/black ale with nutmeg and other holiday spices is a hot seller for a good reason. The balance is very nice and the spices come in hints and pieces, complimenting the beer rather than dominating it. From my memory, there’s less spice than last year, but the beer is just as easy drinking and medium bodied. (6.6% abv)
- Galaxy Hop Ale. Not sure if there’s any left as the keg blew in Missoula just before we got there last Saturday.
Great Northern Brewing Co., Whitefish
- Frog Hop Fresh Hopped Ale. See our take on this fresh hop ale.
Glacier Brewing Co., Polson
- Winter’s Nite Smoked Porter. Glacier’s description: An Imperial Smoked Porter that weighs in around 8.9% by volume and has a deep, rich smokiness wrapped around a very well-balanced porter.
Bitter Root Brewery, Hamilton
- Coffee Milk Stout: Bitter Root’s description: Big Coffee aromas and flavors with a mildly sweet finish, made with locally roasted coffee by Big Creek! Now that sounds like something I’m going to need to run down and try. (5.55% abv)
- Belgian Barleywine: Bitter Root’s description: Rich, malty and powerful brew with spicy Belgian notes. (10.3% abv)
- Garden City Pale Ale. This is Kettlehouse’s annual fresh hop ale. It isn’t as aromatic and full flavored as last year’s version thanks to an area hop shortage, but it’s still a winner.
- Barrel Aged Pumpkin Ale. Haven’t had a chance to try this one yet, but no one in Montana does more with barrel aging than these guys.
Draught Works, Missoula
- As the area’s newest brewery, all of Draught Works’ beers can certainly be considered new to many. Stop in and try: Clothing Optional Pale Ale; Gwin Du Welsh Style Tribute Stout; Quill Pig Czech Style Pilsner; Scepter Head IPA; and Shadow Caster Alt.